Re: Archiving Journals in CogPrints

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Sun, 11 Aug 2002 16:14:49 +0100

On Sun, 11 Aug 2002, Medical Eduation Online wrote:

> I think it is best to be sure the authors
> agree to publish their manuscripts in the non peer-reviewed section of the
> journal as it may limit their ability to publish their manuscripts in
> certain other peer-reviewed journals. I am modifying the submission form
> and database to accommodate this field. Once in place, I'll do as Stevan
> suggested, putting them in MEO but marking them as a preprint and updating
> the record when they are published.

I meant to reply specifically about this in your earlier posting.

You are quite right not to post preprints without their authors'
knowledge and consent. But although there are journals (a smaller and
smaller number of them) that still practise the "Ingelfinger Rule" --
which is the policy of imposing an embargo on any prepublication posting
of preprints and a declining to referee papers that have been posted
as preprints -- it is extremely important (and more in line with reality
and reason) that you make it clear to your authors that:

(1) This "Ingelfinger Rule" is dramatically on the wane. Few journals ever
praticed it to begin with, but their number is rapidly shrinking now,
because in the online age this policy is so clearly against the interests
of research and researchers and is practised purely in the interests
of publisher revenue. Please, in raising the matter, draw your authors'
attention to the pertinent self-archiving FAQs on this question:

    "What if the publisher forbids preprint self-archiving?"

    "What can publishers do to facilitate self-archiving?"

(2) Make it clear to your authors that the Ingelfinger Rule is not
(and never has been) a legal matter and has nothing whatsoever to do
with copyright. It is merely a journal policy matter. Moreover, it is
virtually unenforceable.

(3) The real questions about preprints not concern not the Ingelfinger
Rule but:

    (a) Is the author ready to make the preprint public? The presumption
    is that if the preprint is ready for the journal's peer reviewers to
    see it then it should be ready for other peers to see it as well.

   (b) Are priority and authorship fully protected? The answer is that
   by asserting copyright on the preprint itself, as well as by the very
   act and (date-stamped) record of making the preprint public, authors
   are perhaps even better protected than by not making them public.

   (c) Should the preprint be publicly associated in any way with the
   name of the journal to which it has been submitted? My inclination
   is to say that in most cases it should not be -- until and unless
   it has been accepted. Until then it should be archived only
   as a preprint, without naming the journal to which it has been
   submitted. (Few authors have reason to want a public record of the
   journals by which their papers have been rejected!)

Stevan Harnad
Received on Sun Aug 11 2002 - 16:14:49 BST

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